I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of Asia-Pacific Group.
At the outset, the Group would like to associate itself with the statement delivered by Tanzania on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We thank the Secretary-General for his introductory remarks and the entire secretariat for preparation for this session of the Board. We thank outgoing President of the Board, Ambassador Christopher Onyanga Aparr of Uganda and his leadership during Phase 1 of implementation of Nairobi Maafakiano. We like to congratulate your election as President of the Board and all other office bearers for the 2017-2018.
We also congratulate the Secretary-General upon his re-election for a second term.
Developing countries continue to attach great importance to this institution which was established more than fifty years ago to enable them provide equal footing in the global economic landscape. The idea was to provide a forum for developing countries to overcome imbalances in international trading system and global economic and financial architecture that severely affected their long-term development.
Some of those lofty goals have indeed been achieved – enabling millions to come out of poverty. But the progress is far from universal and equitable. Several important areas of concern to developing countries are still unresolved while many geographical regions of the Global South are still reeling from grinding poverty and chronic underdevelopment. Importantly, imbalances and disparities in the global economic and financial architecture are present as ever. The gulf between haves and have-nots has increased considerably between and within developing and developed countries alike.
We expect the Conference to continue to take a lead in our efforts to address these persistent and emerging challenges across its three pillars: consensus-building, policy analysis and technical assistance. Failure to do so or any wavering in fulfilling its mandate couldlead the institution towards irrelevance.
Trade is a great enabler of development. Economic and social development is directly linked to participation in the global trade. However, restrictive trade regimes have constrained developing countries’ efforts towards their economic development and integration with global markets. Non-tariff barriers (NTBs) or non-tariff measures (NTMs) put up further restrictions to stifle developing countries’ participation in global trade.
We would like to recognize the important work being done by the UNCTAD Secretariat on mapping NTMs and helping developing countries overcome these barriersand achieving better market access.
The role of private sector is critically important in realizing Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the private sector should be facilitated as an enabler to create economic opportunities. Public-private partnership should also be strengthened in developing countries for economic development.
Nairobi Maafakiano was a landmark consensus document that tried to reorient priorities of UNCTAD in the context of Sustainable Development Agenda. One of the major decisions taken at UNCTAD 14 was concerning the revitalization of intergovernmental machinery. The establishment of two Intergovernmental Groups of Experts (IGEs) is indeed a positive step that, we believe, could contribute substantially to multilateral discussions on “financing for development” and “E-Commerce and digital economy”.
Member States now need to engage with the same positive spirit on the Phase-2 implementation of Nairobi Maafakiano. In particular, we should accelerate our work on ways and means to strengthen intergovernmental pillar of UNCTAD, which is raison d’etre of the Organization. This will ensure a successful and effective Mid-term review that we are supposed to undertake sometimes next year. We also look forward to contribution from the Secretary-General and his team on implementation of relevant decision of Nairobi Maafakiano concerning revitalization of intergovernmental machinery of UNCTAD.
Members of Asia-Pacific Group stand ready to contribute substantially to deliberations in the Phase-2 implementation. We assure you of our contributive engagement.
I thank you Mr. President.